In Defense of the RBF - Resting Bitch Face
When I was younger my mom would always chastise me out in public for making the "bad smell" face. She claimed that when I was unhappy or saw something that wasn't to my liking it was written all over my face. I didn't realize I was even making a face until one day I happened to walk by a mirror and there it was - the "bad smell" face. I was 13.
I was completely mortified and decided to make a conscious effort to smile more and try to "hide" my dislike for certain things. Fast forward 27 years and I still find myself making that face. I'm somewhat of a serious person. I'm also a very driven person who when focused on a project might come off as being unfriendly or unapproachable. I'm a Virgo, what can I say. It's in my nature to be perfectionist and at times becomes all consuming that I forget where I am or the people around me.
A few weeks ago I was hanging out with a good friend of mine that I had met through my last job. Somehow we started talking about our initial impressions of one another. I was shocked to learn that his first impression of me wasn't the best. "When I first met you I thought you were this stern, 30-something, professional who was all business", he said. While I do consider myself to be professional at work, stern has never been a word I would think people would associate with me. Now that he's gotten to know me over the past year on a more personal level his opinion has since changed. But still.
Recently someone else kindly informed me that he too thought that I came across as super serious and even went as far to say that I often displayed the dreaded resting bitch face whenever he saw me. YIKES!
This got me thinking about first impressions. I hate to admit this but the first thing I notice is a person's overall appearance. Do they have a nice smile, how they're dressed, are their fingernails clean - things like that. Sounds superficial but when someone takes care in their appearance it translates to them caring about themselves as a whole. At least for me anyway.
The second thing I notice is if they're comfortable in their surroundings - are they fidgety, do they keep looking around or playing with their phone. When someone appears relaxed in a public space that speaks volumes about the person's character.
And lastly do they laugh easily? I think when you're around someone new who laughs easily it puts you at ease. It says to me that they don't take themselves too seriously and frankly find quite endearing. Not to say that you should laugh everything off but most of the time you can let things roll off your back.
About 15 years ago I was walking through Boston Common and was stopped by someone that I had gone to high school with. Not because they saw me first but heard me. They had "recognized" me by my laugh which I never thought was that unique but he certainly proved me wrong.
I'm very open-minded and try not to be quick to judge but no matter how non-judgmental we claim to be I think we all do it when meeting someone for the first time. But after learning about some of the first impressions I've left I try take a breath and put myself in their shoes. I think to myself maybe they overslept, they didn't get enough sleep, they got into a fight with a loved one, they missed their train, they had a bad day at work, they lost their job, their having a bad hair day or maybe that's just their face! Just like ME! Because let's face unless you know the person and can ask you never really know what's going in someone else's life so cut them a little slack.
And although I have been made aware on countless occasions, the "bad smell" face may rear it's ugly head from time to time but hey, try not to judge me for it.
Have you ever had your opinion of someone change after getting to know them better? Or was your first impression correct?
Let me know in the comments below!